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White bowl filled with Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese Recipe

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This well balanced and smooth Pesto Genovese is worth a try. It’s an award-winning family recipe direct from an Italian chef raised in Genoa, and relies on a unique preparation method to ensure it comes out scrumptious, vibrant and silky.

  • Yield: around 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves (stems removed), loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (1 clove)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Soak basil leaves in cold water for 1 hour.
  2. Place pine nuts, olive oil and garlic in a small blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture is a coarse paste.
  3. Shake most, but not all, of the water off 1 cup of the basil leaves. Add to blender and pulse a few times. Repeat with remaining basil leaves, adding 1 cup at a time. Process, pulsing, until puréed and smooth.
  4. Add salt and pulse until smooth. Add the cheeses and pulse just until blended. Do not over blend, as the sauce can separate.
  5. Place pesto in a small bowl or jar. If preparing more than 30 minutes ahead, cover with a thin layer of olive oil.


When serving: add 1 tablespoon hot pasta water to the sauce and let it sit for a few minutes, to melt the cheeses and make it silkier.

Make ahead: pesto can be prepared, a thin layer of oil added to the top, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Can also be frozen up to 3 months.

  • Author: (By Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: sauces, pasta, make ahead
  • Method: food processor or blender
  • Cuisine: Italian